A 2-year pilot project has been launched by Fashion for Good in collaboration with global textile manufacturer, Arvind Limited and leading brands such as Kering and PVH Corp. The pilot project is all about using resource-efficient c by Materra.
Materra offers precision agriculture, real time data tracking and environmental control to facilitate resilient cotton farming.
As on date, cotton is about 30% of global textile production while accounting for 24% of global insecticide use besides being a water intensive crop.
Katrin Ley – Managing Director, Fashion for Good says: “The fashion industry is responsible for 38% of the carbon footprint with regards to raw material production, preparation and processing. And hence, innovations such as radically resource efficient cotton farming, a staple fibre for the industry, is important. This pilot project brings together unique expertise from across the supply chain to scale this solution in key regions.”
Kering, PVH Corp. and Arvind Limited will provide operational and financial support to enable the project. Arvind, with its local knowledge and network with a 1.5 hectare farm that is being set up in Gujarat, India, will offer a great fillip to the project.
Fashion for Good will manage the project in addition to financing it through an equity investment in Materra.
Christine Goulay – Head, Sustainable Innovation, Kering shares: “Materra’s innovation brings in producing extra-long staple cotton in India, as well as the live production data that will be gathered throughout the pilot. This aligns with Kering’s goals in both raw materials, which makes up 65% of the Kering Group’s overarching environmental footprint, and traceability, helping us move towards achieving our goal of reducing our overall footprint by 40% by 2025.”
The farm will grow extra-long staple cotton, which is often used in high-end products, and provides the region with opportunities to explore implementing the fibre that has historically not been grown in large volumes in Northern India as its cultivation requires specific climatic conditions that are only met in a limited number of regions. The cotton generated on the farm, which will total 3 tonnes by the completion of the project, will be divided amongst the three partners to produce garments that will be made commercially available from 2023.
Aksel Parmaksiz – Senior VP, Sustainable Business Transformation, Calvin Klein (Part of PVH Corp.) adds: “Testing and adopting leading sustainable cotton innovations such as Materra’s is central to expanding our sustainable product offerings for our consumers. It is also an enabler in fulfilling our enterprise-wide commitment to procure 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.
Abhishek Bansal – Head, Sustainability, Arvind Limited elaborates: “We see Materra’s solution playing an integral role in our future sourcing strategy. Their technology combines precision agriculture and controlled environments to create a radically resource efficient cotton farm. This results in reduced use of water, land and also of carbon emissions, besides eliminating pesticides. We look forward to scaling this solution in our supply chain.”
Over the last 2 years, Materra has run three consecutive cotton trials at their test site in Essex, UK. These trials allowed them to generate their initial cotton growth recipe, create production baselines and run fibre tests with mills. The aim of this pilot is to test their farming approach in the Gujarat cotton growing region in India. The farm will initially focus on this region where there are limited solutions for successful pest control and limited success growing extra-long staple cotton.
The following 3 months of the pilot will focus on installing the pilot farm to be ready for planting in April, with the first harvest taking place towards the end of the year.
Edward Brial – CEO, Materra shares: “Through this project, we will be able to test our farming approach in India by working closely with farmers on the ground to design and implement real-time data tracking. Working with these partners enables us to draw on a wealth of industry experience, looking to move beyond the pilot to full scale implementation.”
Wide scale implementation of Materra’s innovation will provide small-scale farms with the positive social benefits of increasing their yields, as well as enabling them to grow extra-long staple cotton which is commercially more desirable.
“The fashion industry is responsible for 38% of the carbon footprint with regards to raw material production, preparation and processing. And hence, innovations such as radically resource efficient cotton farming, a staple fibre for the industry, is important. This pilot project brings together unique expertise from across the supply chain to scale this solution in key regions.”
– Katrin Ley, MD, Fashion for Good